Victor Wierda: The best part is getting the job done as a team!

Victor Wierda: The best part is getting the job done as a team!

Friday morning, 12 April: We meet Victor at a truck stop in Rotterdam. He’s just finished a job involving the transport of jacket foundation components using Self Propelled Modular Transporters (SPMTs) at the Waalhaven docks. As is often the case, things turned out just a little differently than planned, but that is precisely what he likes about his work. A portrait of Victor Wierda, Modular Trailer Operator Foreman at Wagenborg Nedlift.

What brought you to Wagenborg?

“The STC (Shipping and Transport College) in Rotterdam referred me to Wagenborg Nedlift in 2006 and I was able to start out as an apprentice driver. I was hired officially as a special transport driver in September 2007. I thought ultra-heavy transport was awesome and I was invited to train as a conventional and SPMT trailer operator at Wagenborg Nedlift."


"After I finished the training programme, I was assigned as the No. 2 and worked with veteran operators on all kinds of projects so that I could gain practical experience and learn the ropes. That’s how I became chief operator and I was recently promoted to the position of modular trailer operator foreman. Wagenborg Nedlift has given me every opportunity to learn and grow.”

What is your working day like?

“No two days are alike! Last week I had a number of jobs in my own back yard, the Rotterdam region. A new sustainable wastewater treatment plant is being constructed in the Maasvlakte industrial zone. We transported two giant boiler components by SPMT from the transhipment location to the construction site. I’ve also done all sorts of other jobs on this project, so I spent a few days there working from dawn to dusk."


"After that we were busy moving jacket components in a shipyard here in Rotterdam. Unusually, I was able to sleep at home this week, in Hellevoetsluis. That’s rarely the case, because Wagenborg Nedlift’s activities are international and so we often have to travel far from home.”

What do you like best about your work?

“I like the operational work “outside”, working in a team and in cooperation with the client. The best part is getting the job done as a team! Things sometimes go differently than planned. I enjoy being resourceful and solving practical challenges so that we can do our work safely and efficiently.”


You worked on the Podiumbrücke Bocholt project. What was your role there?

“The Podiumbrücke Bocholt project involved using a combination of cranes and SPMTs to install a bridge (see box). During project execution, we saw that we could work more efficiently by repositioning the steel plates and slightly altering the placement of the trailers under the bridge. We discussed our ideas with our engineers and after they reviewed everything, it turned out to be possible. Wagenborg Nedlift has short lines of communication and it’s nice to see our ideas being taken on board so that we can deliver good results for our customers!” 

What challenges did you face in that project and how did you solve them (with your team)?

“Besides coordinating our work with the cranes, the biggest challenge was the uneven surface. It made the SPMTs harder to manoeuvre. We tackled this by altering trailer operation slightly so that we had better control over the wheels. We discussed it with the project manager first, but with our experience and knowledge of trailers, we decide ourselves how to go about it."


"Taking responsibility and coming up with creative solutions makes the work interesting and challenging. Every job is different. Sometimes we have a lot of room to manoeuvre, and other times we only have 5 cm clearance! Other jobs involve uneven surfaces, difficult routes or coordination with cranes. ”


What do you do at home and what are your hobbies?

"My big hobby is an old American car, a 1967 Chrysler 300. There are only a few of them in the Netherlands. I’m fixing it up. I can’t drive it yet because the wiring in the dashboard is all over the place and it will be quite a job to get it right. I hope to be able to show off the Chrysler at an auto show sometime soon!”

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